International Maccabi Culinary Competition Judge
Uri “Buri” Jeremias is a tourism innovator, chef, hotelier and visionary for coexistence in Israel. Born in Nahariya, a seaside village on northern Israel’s Mediterranean coastline just 10KM from the Lebanese border, in 1944 during British rule over Palestine, Jeremias was raised by an agriculturalist father and schoolteacher mother both of German descent. Over the course of his youth, Jeremias became well accustomed to living in close proximity with neighbors, friends and even family members of different faiths and ethnicities. As someone who contains no box to think outside, Jeremias was more fascinated in swimming, fishing and exploring the world and the vast ceiling of his mind than hours in the schoolroom: the type of thinking and lifestyle that propelled his career as a chef and hotelier in the Old City of Akko.
As a youth and autodidact, Jeremias gained inspiration and insight into the vast flavors of the world in Europe, India, the U.S. and beyond, during which time he thrived on fishing and cooking for family and friends, and was convinced to open a restaurant that would eventually stand as the heralded Uri Buri restaurant.
In 1989, Jeremias first established Uri Buri restaurant in his hometown of Nahiraya, before relocating to the Old City of Akko in 1997. Today, Uri Buri restaurant is staffed with personnel spanning many religious, ethnicities and cultures — and heralded for its unparalleled seafood and fish dishes incorporating locavore produce, catches and ingredients for which it has propelled as one of the top dining establishments in the Middle East. In 2003, Jeremias discovered a magnificent building in the Old City of Akko, built and layered with history from the Byzantine, Crusader and Ottoman periods that endured eight years of meticulous restoration and preservation before resurfacing as the Efendi Hotel.